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Cancelling a Mobile Phone Contract: Stuck in Contract?

We’ve all been there; you have spotted a new phone or a cheaper deal that makes you want to switch but you might be stuck in contract. But before you dive in and potentially incur unnecessary costs, this guide will shed some light on cancelling a mobile phone contract. 

young woman sat at home checking her phone

Reasons for Cancelling Your Mobile Phone Contract

  • Eyeing a New Phone? Fancy the latest model? Upgrading your handset is a popular reason to switch.
  • Found a Better Bargain? Don't be afraid to shop around! A sweeter deal elsewhere could justify a switch.
  • Price Hike? If your network raised prices mid-contract, you might be able to cancel cost-free.
  • Signal Struggles? Dropped calls and patchy coverage? A new network with better reception in your area might be the answer.
  • Customer Service Woes? Not happy with the help you're getting? Consider switching to a provider with better customer service like Your Co-op Mobile, with award-winning care. 

Can you cancel your Mobile Phone Contract early?

illustration of a woman using her phone

Check your contract length

The first thing to check is the length of contract you took out with your provider. Mobile phone contracts in the UK tend to be 12 or 24 months, though can be as long as 36 months. But if you're in the last 30 days of your contract you can likely avoid any hefty exit fees and walk away for free! 

illustration of a man using his phone

Your right to a 14-day Cooling-Off period

If you signed up online or over the phone for a new phone contract, you can still cancel and leave! You have a 14-day "cooling off period" by law in the UK. This means you can ditch the contract within those 14 days and avoid any charges, although you might have to pay for any calls, texts or data you've already used.

illustration of a man using his phone

Beware of Exit fees from your provider

If you're not within the free cancellation zones mentioned above, you'll likely face an early termination fee (ETF) for cancelling your contract before it ends. This can be quite a substantial amount of money which may cost as much as the remaining months of your contract!

illustration of a man using his phone

Has your phone provider just raised their prices?

Under Ofcom rules, who are the regulators of UK mobile services, state your provider must give you at least 30 days’ notice if they decide to raise your monthly cost, mid-contract. You have the legal right to cancel if you wouldn't like to pay this increased price, free of charge. However, if your provider told you at the start of the contract that the price increase, such as an initial offer expires, then you cannot leave free of charge. 

young man sat outside checking his mobile

How much does it Cost to Cancel a Mobile Phone Contract?

 If you want to leave your mobile phone contract before the end of the agreed term length, you’ll have to pay an early termination fee. The amount you need to pay will depend on the remaining time left on your contract.
For example, if you signed up for a 24-month contract for £35 per month and wanted to cancel in the 12th month, you might have to pay off the remaining 12 months of the contract. That leaving cost would be £420.
This could mean you're better off staying with your current provider until the end of the agreement.

What to consider before you Contact to Cancel a Phone Contract

Can You Haggle? 
Sometimes, your network might offer you an improved deal, like a discount or an upgraded phone package to ensure you stay. 

Is There a Better Deal? 
Maybe your network has raised prices and you're unhappy. If so, you're usually free to cancel without a fee under the law but if not, is the cost of leaving so high that even with a cheaper monthly cost you may be worse off? 

How to Cancel a Mobile Phone Contract?

If you decide that you want to cancel your contract, here are the steps to take:

Step 1

You can call, send a free text, or email your provider to tell them you want to cancel your contract.

Step 2

If you’re still within your contract period, you’ll need to pay any exit fees or potentially the remainder of your contract before you can officially cancel.

Step 3

Once you have the cancellation confirmed by your former provider, you can now switch to a new mobile phone contract with a new provider.

woman checking her mobile at home

Top Tips for a Smooth Phone Contract Cancellation

Get it in Writing: 
Once you've cancelled, ask for written confirmation with a completion date and any other details about the cancellation.

Unlock Your Phone: 
If you want to keep your phone and switch providers, you might need to get it unlocked. By law, networks can't charge you for this anymore, but it's always best to double-check.

Settle Any Outstanding Bills: 
Make sure you've paid any remaining charges before your contract officially ends to avoid any nasty surprises.

Request a PAC code: 
Call, text “PAC” or use your online account to request a Pac code, which lets your new provider seamlessly transfer your phone number during the switch.

The Best Mobile Phone Contract for Service, People and Planet

Your Co-op Mobile never tie you down to a typical contract period, as all our SIMs are 30-day rolling deals, so you can cancel anytime, though we don't think you'll want to. Not only are you in control but you're connected with EE's 5G network and have free EU roaming, with award-winning customer service.

Our SIMs are paired with Fairphone, the most sustainable smartphones on the market that don't compromise performance. Enjoy powerful Android performance with premium dual cameras at 48MP or 50MP to suit and repairability like no other. 

Make a difference with a Fairphone that's long-lasting, made with fair materials and uses fair practices that help improve the lives of workers in the highly exploitative and unsustainable tech industry.